When high school students are all learning from home, it can be hard for them to connect socially. In the past, Ridgefield High School’s Associated Student Body (ASB) hosted its events in-person. With the switch to remote learning, the ASB chose instead to ramp up its online presence, offering students a new way to share experiences together.
The ASB runs one of the school’s Instagram accounts, SpudderNation. ASB Leadership students decided to use the account as a platform for online content exclusive to Ridgefield High School. They started creating fun features that all students could watch from their own homes. Using Instagram allows them to social distance and be safe, but still have fun.
A gingerbread house decorating contest was one of many events that ASB students shared on RHS' SpudderNation Instagram account.
They started a live show on Instagram TV (IGTV) called Good Morning Wednesdays. ASB Leadership students, including Presley McCaskill, Jaynie Murray, and Gabe Berkey, appear live each Wednesday on a split screen, each one with a coffee or warm beverage. And much like a morning talk show, they discuss different topics. Past topics have included how to start good studying habits, how to apply for college, and how to practice good mental health. Viewers can submit questions online, and ASB students answer them during the broadcast. Stefanie Foster, ASB Leadership Advisor, is glad to see a chance for students to interact, saying, “This is awesome peer-to-peer engagement.”
Each Friday, another group of ASB students host Spudder Night Live, a video compilation of different fun skits and segments. Luke Price and Aidan Hundt serve as the hosts of Spudder Night Live and do their own segments, like interviewing guests or doing TikTok of the week, where they imitate a TikTok dance video. Jacob Bell presents the weather, and Cash Hill discusses weekend highlights. Justin Wilkins and his dog, Bentley, co-host random shower thoughts, like “Is the S or C silent in the word scent?”. And Drew Harteloo reviews different products; recently he sawed up a log to review a chainsaw. Annikka Hill helps put the video features together into a show.
The opening of Spudder Night Live features ASB students together--but safe and socially distanced on their bikes.
Jaynie Murray and Gabe Berkey host an episode of Good Morning Wednesdays, a live show with different topics that also answers viewer questions.
Luke Price and Aidan Hundt host Spudder Night Live on RHS' Instagram account, SpudderNation.
Over the holidays, they also created a special music video. High school teachers and staff lip-synced and danced to different sections of Jingle Bell Rock, and the students compiled the clips together into one fun video. They released it on Spudder Night Live during winter break.
Price is glad people are enjoying Spudder Night Live. “We started it to make people feel like they’re still connected. So if it gets hard to think of new ideas, we remind ourselves that it’s about feeling like we’re all still together.” He plans for Spudder Night Live to continue even after they return to school.
In addition to the student-run shows, ASB also hosts events on Instagram, like a gingerbread house decorating contest, and virtual class color wars, where each grade wore a different color. Spirit Week went entirely online as well. And the ASB sponsored a real-life food drive for the Ridgefield Family Resource Center, posting collection boxes at Ridgefield Pioneer Marketplace, Lava Java, and Ridgefield High School.
Having a social media feed that is almost entirely student-driven is unusual, but it has proved to be incredibly popular; SpudderNation gets hundreds of student views. Ridgefield High School Principal Christen Palmer said, “I am so proud of these students for finding a way to communicate with each other despite all these challenges. They are absolutely killing it with SpudderNation!”